The ideal length for a yacht is….21 feet

"Seamen tell me that there are great curling seas which will swallow up anything;and I can fully understand  that no vessel could live in the heavy breqakers to be met with on the Cornish coast; but I have run before curling seas, of certainly from 18 to 20 feet high, off Cromer, and yet nothing of any importance has ever come on board. I have looked behind and seen waves which threatened to curl right over me; but they always run under the ster, the white water rushing along the descks on each side sifficient to drown an open boat, but of no consequence to a decked on.

Again the length of twenty-one feet is of the greatest advantage when running , for the boat only contends with one sea at a time; whereas greater length is sometimes hung on two, and frequently overruns the seas. The wave usually carries The Kate along with it - for this rreason, that the greatest beam is about three feet aft of the mainmast. The sea therefore holds onto that point and sweeps the boat along on its edge (if it is curler) until broken, when the staunch little craft rushes through the white water as smoothly as possible."


EE Middleton - the Cruise of the Kate 1868



























This is about Dylan Winter's Blog, Hunter Minstrel, Sailing around Britain. Tags:

7 Responses to “The ideal length for a yacht is….21 feet”

  1. 10 October, 2012 at 10:43 pmAndrew B (aka tdw) says:

    Hey Dylan, my copy finally arrived yesterday. Got started on it last evening. Middleton is quite obviously as mad as a meat axe but looking to be a great read. Predicting a rainy weekend … no bad thing for a wombat and a good book. (ordering Middleton and McMullen on the strength of Ransome’s intro. Mate, when you get there maybe you should do a loop down the Forth and Clyde then back up the Caledonian. Cheers to you Andrew B.

  2. 12 October, 2012 at 8:01 amDylan Winter says:

    how are you getting on with him

    he was quite clearly deranged – slightly

    you and I however…. salt of the earth


  3. 14 October, 2012 at 11:20 pmAndrew B (aka tdw) says:

    Finished it off over the weekend. To be frank, Ransome’s introduction was probably the best part of the book and I am no great Ransome fan. Deranged ? No doubt but as you say we be the salt while ‘all the worlds a little mad’ etc etc. Overall the book was to say the least a tadge dry and while one must admire the man’s bottle I do trust you keep up the KTL entertainment levels. I was most looking forward to the Irish Sea and Corrin canal chapters but alas he hardly waxes eloquent as regards the scenery. Oh well, lets just say as a travel writer Middleton is no Eric Newby. Still and all it was perhaps apt that he chose to keep turning right . As for raw eggs in a cupper ? Good lord ! Cheers Andrew B

  4. 15 October, 2012 at 8:07 amDylan Winter says:

    he certainly does not play it for laughs

    although some bits were pretty funny

    but for me it was an insight into a time which has long past – both socially and technologically

  5. 9 June, 2016 at 11:41 amMatthew Kotzé says:

    Dear Dylan, I stumbled on your blog through the Skegness Yacht Club site. Its fan bloody tastic! This little excert says it all about seaworthiness, seems you are perfectly equipped for your voyage. I do a lot of yacht deliveries around the UK and Med for my small business Thumbs Up Yacht Delivery but I’m still very jealous of your adventure!

  6. 21 September, 2016 at 10:35 amJames Parfitt says:

    Hi Dylan,
    This is not relevant to the above but I really want to get your opinion on our situation.
    We have been given a boat by my dad who owned it for 10 years but didn’t use it. It’s a 1962, wooden clinker motor sailer, 24 ft, 2 berth. (Originally built in Walton on Naize)
    We love your adventures and want to attempt similar journeys but we’re not experienced or qualified enough to know whether this boat is suitable? It won’t be a great sailing vessel but it is charming. I have accidentally already invested 10k into it and have a brand new inboard lister petter engine. We have both achieved ‘day-skipper’ but it was over 5 years ago and we really are novices. I don’t mind rolling my sleeves up and I have spent many weekends bringing her back to life but…..

    What do you? Would you change her for a Hunter/Westerly/Slug? Would you continue and enjoy her – sailing slowly!
    If you have a moment to answer – we’d really appreciate it and thank you for you wonderful series. You are inspirational.

  7. 21 September, 2016 at 10:54 amdylan winter says:

    if you enjoy the work and are up to running a wooden boat then sail her

    better to sail the boat you have now than dreaming about some boat in the future

    marinas and harbours also love people who turn up in lovely boats

    the only problem is if you end up with your boat a long way from home

    driving three or four hours to do some varnishing is a big commitment

    the advantage of plastic boats is that they are more or less maintenance free

    a boat that takes the ground is also great.

    if the boat is ready to roll then sail it

    as for competence
    sailing is easy, sailing is safe

    navigation is dead simple – you have a new engine

    speed is unimportant – the biggest safety factor is that you want that engine to start when you press that starter button

Leave a Reply